If you ever get the chance to watch builders here in Kefalos, do so, it is very entertaining!! No such thing as steel toecaps, hard hats, hi-viz jackets, eye protectors etc.!! I’ve been watching my house build through the eye of a lens and so far the only misdemeanor I’ve observed is the odd Toilet break and a pee over the side of the hedge.The new build regulations appear to have turned the setting out for the foundations into some kind of dot to dot experience meets French skipping with lines and strings everywhere and that’s only for the foundations so no way would you want to walk the site in the dark even if they had lights and tape round the site.
There was the time a couple of years ago when a house was being built where a friend lives. A very large hole was dug, along came the cement lorry and the base was laid, the concrete dried and so the house took shape. The first floor grew and then the steel rods for the top floor columns were shrouded in wooden shuttering, lined with blue polystyrene and filled with concrete. Once the concrete had dried, a simple job of unbolting the shuttering, knocking off the wooden planks with a hammer and, hey presto, lots of blue clad concrete pillars, ‘simples’ as a certain meerkat would say. The problem was getting to the bolts on the outside, scaffolding I hear you say, err, no!! One guy with a wrench in his hand stood on the very edge, another stood behind him and held onto his belt and with one hand, the first guy then leant out as far as possible to reach the bolt and unscrewed it and then hauled back in by his friend!!
On the subject of scaffolding, as previously mentioned, what scaffolding? If it has to be used it is usually made up of assorted poles, planks, crates, pallet boards, anything that can be used is. If a job can be done without scaffolding even by sitting on another guy’s shoulders so much the better!!
The houses are built mainly of concrete, gaps between columns are filled with bricks and the whole lot is then sprayed with cement. To create a block effect design on the cement is a simple job of scoring the cement with a very sharp blade across a sprit level. Forget the scaffolding, all you need is one guy with the blade and one guy with the spirit level and something convenient to stand on. The guy down the bottom stands on a crate or something similar, puts on a baseball cap, holds the spirit level up against the wall in the correct place, bends his head down, squeezes his eyes tight shut and, I should imagine, prays. The guy up the top lays down on the roof, balcony whatever flat surface is above where he needs to be, wriggles as far over the edge as he needs to, leans down and scores the concrete with his sharp blade. Hey presto, job done!!!
How true it is, but I have been told that to paint a high wall all you need is a long plank, a roller on the end of a long pole, two friends and two whatever to balance the plank on. One friend either end of the plank jump up in unison while you stand in the middle, when they land on the ends of the plank you bounce upwards and therefore can reach higher up the wall. To paint the top of the wall, no problem, just go up on the roof, lie down, lean over the edge and paint downwards!!
I shall continue to watch my house build closely as the new regulations seem to be making a mountain out of a mole hill and new EU rules mean a close inspection of proceedings from the man who knows and as GPS is now the eye of Big Brother there should be no chance of building in the wrong place. I still can’t imagine the focus will be on personal safety so it remains to be seen if scaffolding arrives on site..